Monday, August 07, 2006

Syd Barrett, a more sober view

It was a surprise to me how many bloggers I read, VodkaPundit for one, also noticed Syd Barrett's passing. I think we were all a little misty eyed. The Economist (subscription req'd) had a more sober view of Syd and his generation. They make a good point.
TO THOSE who were young then, the late 1960s were the best thing since 1789. All that followed paled by comparison. This was the time of the Paris riots, with students hurling cobbles and the flics hurling tear-gas back; the first convulsions over the war in Vietnam; the Prague spring, quickly crushed by Soviet tanks; and everywhere the sense that the young, by sheer numbers, could overthrow the established order and make the world again.

If they failed to remake it, this was largely because they were out of it on one illegal substance or another.
More clear eyed reporting here, and if you just want to be reminded what the cutting edge of the drug madness spewed on our world by the Boomers, check out the photo spread of Syd here. Want to see some of him in video, plenty on YouTube. (to see his last run, for reasons you will understand having read the links above, see this from American Bandstand).

Oh, why the sour turn? Well, the bit in The Economist reminded me of an exceptionally talented athlete and smart guy I knew from high school that OD'd on PCP (Angle Dust) my senior year (made a mistake of going to a Hell's Angles party. If you grew up in the Southeast the 80s, you know what I am talking about).

He ended up early one AM screaming at cops, was beat up fairly bad by said police (I don't blame them, people on PCP have almost unhuman strength) and wound up in a mental hospital. Ever been to one? After that time I have had to go to the "4th floor" twice to visit Sailors of mine that wound up in a mental ward for non-drug reasons. To this day, more than two decades later, even thinking of one makes me thing of the look in his eyes. And no, he never got better.

That PCP trip is a direct by-product of the hard-drug culture that Syd and his buds made fashionable and trendy. They still have not been held to task for it. They have made untold millions off it. Still are. I went to a Pink Floyd concert in the 1980s. To say it wasn't designed to "help people enjoy the experience" is not to be rooted in reality - but that is the point I think. To this day, I can see that big pig floating over my head, and my buddy next to me yelling, "Look at the balls on that thing....."

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